fighting spam and scams on the Internet
"419" Scam – Advance Fee / Fake Lottery Scam
The so-called "419" scam is a type of fraud dominated by criminals from Nigeria and other countries in Africa. Victims of the scam are promised a large amount of money, such as a lottery prize, inheritance, money sitting in some bank account, etc.
Victims never receive this non-existent fortune but are tricked into sending their money to the criminals, who remain anonymous. They hide their real identity and location by using fake names and fake postal addresses as well as communicating via anonymous free email accounts and mobile phones.
Keep in mind that scammers DO NOT use their real names when defrauding people.
The criminals either abuse names of real people or companies or invent names or addresses.
Any real people or companies mentioned below have NO CONNECTION to the scammers!
Read more about such scams here or in our 419 FAQ. Use the Scam-O-Matic to verify suspect emails.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
Some comments by the Scam-O-Matic about the following email:
- This email uses a separate reply address that is different from the sender address. Spammers use this to get replies even when the original spam sending accounts have been shut down. Also, sometimes the sender addresses are legitimate looking but fake and only the reply address is actually an email account controlled by the scammers.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "fiduciary agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "claims agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "to your nominated bank account" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- "million united states dollars" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- ",000,000" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- "00,000.00" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- This email message is a fake lottery scam. Consider the following facts about real lotteries:
- They don't notify winners by email.
- You can't win without first buying a lottery ticket.
- They don't randomly select email addresses to award prizes to.
- They don't use free email accounts (Yahoo, Hotmail, etc) to communicate with you.
- They don't tell you to call a mobile phone number.
- They don't tell you to keep your winnings secret.
- They will never ask a winner to pay any fees to receive a prize!
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Advocate Kelvin <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 15 Aug 2020 08:48:15 +0200
Subject: YOUR EMAIL HAS WON $1,000,000!!!!
* 2020 MICROSOFT YAHOO
ANNIVERSARY AWARD NOTIFICATION*
*This is to inform you that your active email address has won you a prize
money of $1,000,000.00 (One Million United States Dollars Only) for 2020
Prize promotion which was organized by YAHOO, AOL & WINDOWS LIVE, MSN this
2020, YAHOO and MICROSOFT collects all the email addresses of the people
that are active online, among the millions that subscribed to Yahoo and
Hotmail and few from other e-mail providers. Six people are selected to
benefit from this promotion and you are one of the Selected Winners.*
*PAYMENT OF PRIZE AND
*Winners shall be paid in accordance with his/her Settlement Center. Yahoo
Prize Award must be claimed no later than 28th days, from date of
Notification. Any prize not claimed within this period will be
below are your identification numbers: BATCH NUMBER: MFI/08/APA-43658,
REFERENCE NUMBER:**2008234522**, **PIN: 1208**WINNING NUMBER: 45 07 33 25
14 48 And Bonus 11, These numbers fall within the Johannesburg South
African Location file, you are requested to contact our fiduciary agent in
Johannesburg South Africa and send your winning identification numbers to
her and also call immediately you send her your details:*
*CLAIMS MANAGER CONTACT INFORMATION:*
*NAME: **MRS. EMMA WILLIAMS*
*E-Mail:* *firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>*
*TEL:**+ 27 73 865 5543.*
*You are advised to send the following information to your Claims
Agent/Manager to facilitate the release of your fund to you. Also remember
to call her after you sent your details.*
*1. Full Nameâ¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦.*
*3. Contact Addressâ¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦ *
*5. Mobile Tel Numberâ¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦..*
*8. Marital Status............................*
*9. Email addressâ¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦..*
*Congratulations!!** Once again**.*
*Yours in service, *
*Susan Davies (coordinator)*
*For security reasons, you are advised to keep your winning information
confidential till your claims is processed and your money remitted to your
nominated bank account. This is part of our precautionary measure to avoid
double claiming and unwarranted abuse of this program by some unscrupulous
elements. Please be warned!!!!!*